New Zealand were completely outplayed by India in the last Test series, losing 0-3, but they will hope to perform against the second best ranked team in world cricket, Pakistan. The Black Caps have made the squad, dropping players like Martin Guptill and Luke Ronchi among others.
Ish Sodhi, Jeetan Patel, and Doug Bracewell have also failed to make it to the 13-man squad. Their selectors have awarded domestic performers by including them in the roster. Todd Astle, Jeet Raval and Colin de Grandhomme will hope to make their inclusion count with some solid performance if they get a chance to feature in the two-match Test series, starting November 17 in Christchurch.
Kane Williamson, as expected, will lead the side at home, where they are a dominant side. With players like Ross Taylor, Tom Latham, Trent Boult, Jimmy Nesham, Tim Southee, they look a strong squad.
But the focus could be on some of the players coming in, especially Astle, who has been consistent in domestic cricket for New Zealand. The spinner has got a chance to impress only with Mitchell Santner being ruled out due to broken wrist.
"Todd's been incredibly consistent at the domestic level, having been one of the top four wicket-takers in the Plunket Shield (domestic first class competition) for the past three seasons. His bowling has continued to improve and he's also shown impressive form with the bat, so Todd provides a similar skill set to Mitchell Santner in his absence," Reuters quoted selector Gavin Larsen said.
The Test series is expected to be a close contest, and with Pakistan having won the Test series against West Indies, they will hope to carry that form in New Zealand as well.
New Zealand squad: Kane Williamson (captain), Todd Astle, Trent Boult, Colin de Grandhomme, Matt Henry, Tom Latham, Henry Nicholls, Jimmy Neesham, Jeet Raval, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Neil Wagner, B.J. Watling.